Statement of AMHA in Response to Bennett Litigation
You may have learned that one of our members and directors, Vicki Bennett, has filed a lawsuit against current and former AMHA board members. Her complaints are wide-ranging, but focus mostly on the management and operation of the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show by the American Morgan Horse Educational Charitable Trust (AMHECT), a charitable organization separate and distinct from AMHA. AMHA’s Board, with the exception of Ms. Bennett, firmly disputes the lawsuit’s allegations of mismanagement, and believes Ms. Bennett’s complaint reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the legal structure and mission of AMHECT.
The AMHA Board supports transparency and open dialogue regarding concerns that members or directors may have concerning AMHA’s governance, finances, and strategic direction. While Ms. Bennett has a right to file whatever lawsuit she believes warranted, it is unfortunate that she chose to raise her complaints in the courts rather than bringing them forward in detail in the course of her service as a member of the AMHA Board, where there would have been opportunity for discussion and evaluation.
The AMHA Board members sued by Ms. Bennett have retained counsel to defend them in the litigation, and strongly believe they will prevail in the end. The lawsuit threatens to impose significant costs on the Association, and, unfortunately, those costs will increase as the litigation continues. The Board will make every attempt to minimize these unbudgeted expenses by working through proper Board governing channels.
Regarding Director & Officer (D & O) Insurance
Both AMHA and AMHECT have Directors & Officers (D&O) insurance in place; however, that coverage was denied for the Bennett lawsuit. We have challenged that denial upon the recommendation of our attorneys. AMHA is very confident in the knowledge, professionalism, and guidance received from our legal and accounting professionals. The court filings in regards to pursuing coverage are linked below.
05.27.2020 Amended Declaratory Judgement Complaint
05.06.2020 Declaratory Judgement Complaint